New teacher grew up with education in his veins

Anthony Capua, Staff writer

St. Joseph’s new Religion and Speech teacher, Mr. Victor Smith Jr., has an interesting background that not many other teachers in Westchester share. He was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama in 1990. He lived there for 26 years and then moved here in 2016.

This is his first year of teaching in his own classroom, but he has been doing teaching for a couple of years now.

Growing up, his grandfather was a preacher and his grandmother was a teacher. From an early age he was always interested in Christianity. As he grew older, he became more interested in the world religions and wanted to pursue that route.

He went to the University of Montevallo for his undergrad. He got his Bachelor’s degree in political science and history. Then, in 2016 he enrolled in Loyola’s theology program to get his master’s in theological studies. This focused on both the ethical and historical side of theology.

He has always been interested in the Lasallian traditions and brotherhood, so he fit right in to the St. Joseph community. St. Joseph accepts people from all different walks of life and that’s what he really likes. The thing he enjoys most about St. Joseph so far is the feeling of welcome from all the staff and especially the students. He said the students are the most engaged he has ever taught.

“A lot of the students here are really wise,” Smith said, “That invigorates the teacher so much more when the students are actively engaged and wanting to learn. It’s pretty fun.”

Although Smith is now a teacher and wants to be a teacher for years to come, he didn’t always start off this way. Throughout his years before college, he wanted to become a lawyer and was interested in law. His grandfather gave him the best advice he has received so far, which was to put God first in everything, and everything will come to you. He later realized when studying for law that it wasn’t the right career path for him and turned to the thing he appreciates the most- teaching and religion.

Outside of teaching religion, he also teaches speech and debate, and oversees the theatre program. From a young age he always had a good memory and could memorize speeches before he could even read. This made him a good candidate for the position, and he has not regretted it since.

Overall, Mr. Smith is excited to start his journey as a teacher here at St. Joseph, and the students are ready to accept him in to the Lasallian way of life.